(So We brought down), but in the second: (So We sent down), and what is the difference between them?

Question 52:

In Name of Allah, The Abundantly Merciful, the Intensely Merciful

{But those who oppressed had changed [those words] to a statement other than what had been said to them. So We brought down upon those who oppressed a punishment from the sky because they were disobeying.} [Quran 2:59]

And the Almighty said, {But those who oppressed among them had changed [the words] to a statement other than what had been said to them. So We sent down upon them a punishment from the sky because they were oppressing.} [Quiran 7:162]

Why does the Almighty say in the first verse: (So We brought down), but in the second: (So We sent down), and what is the difference between them? And the Almighty said in the first verse: (disobeying), but in the second: (oppressing), what is the difference between them?

Answer: Imam Ahmed Al Hasan (pbuh) said: The Almighty said: { 20 And when Moses said to his people, “O my people, remember the favor of Allah upon you when He appointed among you prophets and made you kings and gave you what He had not given anyone among the worlds. 21 O my people, enter the Holy Land which Allah has written for you and do not turn back and [thus] become losers.”22 They said, “O Moses, indeed there is a people of tyrannical strength in it, and indeed, we will not enter it until they leave it; so if they leave it, then we will enter.” 23 Two men from those who fear said to those on whom Allah has bestowed His grace, “Enter upon them from the gate, for if you enter by it, you will be victorious. So rely on Allah if you should be believers.” 24 They said, “O Moses, indeed we will not enter it, ever, as long as they are within it; so go, you and your Lord, and fight. Indeed, we are sitting right here. 25 [Moses] said, “My Lord, indeed I do not possess except myself and my brother, so part us from the defiantly disobedient people. 26 [Allah] said, “Then indeed, it is forbidden to them for forty years, they will be lost throughout the land. So do not grieve over the defiantly disobedient people”} [Quran Surat Al-Maeda (The Table Spread), 5:20-26]

In these verses, the reason behind this punishment or torment is clarified, and it is the disobedience of the people and their failure to comply with the divine commands by which Moses (pbuh) commanded them. And the truth is that this disobedience only comes from the doubt within themselves about the prophet-hood of Moses (pbuh) and that he is the vicegerent of Allah on His Earth who must be obeyed. And this doubt appeared many times in the (wilderness) when they objected to Moses (pbuh), and they disbelieved in his leadership and in the leadership of his brother Aaron (pbuh) over them. This disbelief in the vicegerent of Allah on His earth is the oppression, and it is an oppression towards themselves. Because they are the the first and the last loser in this world and in the hereafter when they do not acknowledge that sovereignty belongs to Allah, and that Allah is the one who assigns His vicegerent on His earth, and that they must obey him (pbuh) because obedience to him is obedience to Allah, and must accept his sovereignty because it is the sovereignty of Allah (swt). Consequently the oppression toward the vicegerent of Allah on His earth is to reject his divine allegiance.

As for the disobedience: It is disobeying the vicegerent of Allah on His earth, and rejecting the divine commands.

As for bringing down the torment: it means placing it and settling it upon the people.

As for sending down the torment: it is sending the angels with it; when the divine command comes to them, they bring it down and make it fall upon the people. Thus the sent torment is a torment which overshadows the people and is about to fall upon them, and it may fall upon them occasionally, such as what happened to the Children of Israel in the (wilderness), as perishing would occur among them whenever they would hurt Moses (pbuh) or reject his allegiance over them or his vicegerency of Allah on His earth. And there are other meanings for ‘bringing down the torment’ and ‘sending down the torment’ which do not pertain to the two verses, thus there is no need to mention them. As for the meaning of these two verses in particular:

1 – {So We brought down upon those who wronged a punishment from the sky because they were disobeying.} This means We tormented them. We brought down: meaning We made the torment land upon them, and they are the ones who wronged the supporters of Allah, Moses and Aaron (pbut), and they wronged Muhammad and his progeny (pbut). And the latter act is more worthy of the torment as Muhammad and his progeny (pbut) are the origin of the divine allegiance. 1

And this torment was brought down because of their disobedience and rebellion against the divine commands of Allah on His earth, and because many of them doubted or disbelieved in the prophet-hood and successor-ship of Moses (pbuh).

2 – {So We sent down upon them a punishment from the sky because they were oppressing.} This means We sent the angels carrying the torment above their heads because of their hypocrisy and lack of genuine faith. So they oppressed the supporters and vicegerents (pbut) of Allah on His earth. Otherwise, and according to the way of Allah (swt), disobedience along with the acceptance of the supporters and vicegerent of Allah on His earth does not obligate the sending down of the torment, let alone bringing it down. Therefore, torment will only fall upon nations rebellious against the command of Allah (swt) and deviated from His straight path, after He sends a messenger 2 and after that messenger is denied and ridiculed. And allegiance to the supporter of Allah is a good deed with which no bad deed can cause harm, and the animosity toward the supporter and vicegerent of Allah (swt) on His earth is a bad deed with which no good deed can cause benefit. 3

And from the two verses, we understand that Allah (swt) sends the torment upon the nation if it turns away from the supporter and vicegerent of Allah on His earth. Moreover, this torment is brought down upon them if they continue with their disobedience and rebellion against the divine commands conveyed to them. And perhaps the torment would be sent down and directly brought down upon them if they deserved it after oppressing the supporter of Allah and disobeying the command of Allah (swt), and praise is due to Allah alone.

***

1 – Narrate from Dawood AlRaqi: I asked Abi Abdullah (as) about … up to where he (as) said: “ … So when Allah wanted to create the creation he scattered them between His hands and said: “Who is your Lord?” The first to talk were: Allah’s Messenger pbuhuf, the Prince of the Believers Ali (as) and the Imams (may prayers of Allah be upon them). They said: “You are our Lord.” Thus he made them carry knowledge and the religion. Then He said to the angels: “These are the carriers of My religion, My knowledge and My trust within My creation, and they are the responsible ones.”
Then He said to the Children of Adam: “Acknowledge Allah through divinity and this party through allegiance(Wilaya) and obedience.” They said: “Yes Our Lord, we have acknowledged.” Then Allah said to the angels: “Bear witness.” The angels said: “We bear witness so that they do not say later ‘we were unaware of this’ or ‘but our fathers had committed shirk before and we were the descendants after them, will You destroy us because of what the falsifiers have done’.

“O Dawood, our allegiance(Wilaya) is established over them in the convenant.” AlKafi: vol1, pages133-134, hadeeth7.
2 – The Almighty said: {And We would never punish until We send a messenger} Quran Al-Israa’: 15

3 – Abdullah bin Masuud narrated: the Messenger of Allah pbuhap said, “O Ali, if a servant worshipped Allah as Noah had stood among his nation, had a mountain of gold which he spent in the way of Allah, lived to perform pilgrimage a thousand times, then was killed between the mountains of Safa and Marwa, and does not announce allegiance to you, O Ali, then he will not smell the scent of Paradise nor enter it. Do you not know, O Ali, that love for you is a good deed with which no bad deed can cause harm, and hate for you is a bad deed with which no act of obedience can cause benefit. O Ali, if pearls were scattered upon a hypocrite, he would still not love you. And if you were to strike the pharynx of a believer he would still not hate you, because love for you is faith and hate for you is hypocrisy. Only a pious believer would love you, and only a miserable hypocrite would hate you.” Bihar Al-Anwar: vol 39, page 280.

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